I have been bad for weeks.
Not convenience store hot dog robbery bad.
Not sneaking off to the Motel 6 with the lawn guy bad.
But I have been bad. At least, bad for me.
My first book, Stop Getting Dumped! was “crashed”, which means the publisher had it in book stores as fast as they could print it. So fast, in fact, that the book was on shelves a week before I ever got my contract.
There were lots of things that went right with DUMPED! — the book has sold well, and my readers have been loyal and wonderful. But I’m a tiny bit of a control-freak, and I made copious notes on what I would do differently on my next book.
The saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” but my second book is a first of sorts. My debut novel. The experience of publishing is the same, and yet completely different.
DUMPED! came out too quickly for reviews, the release was too speedy for the book clubs. And while I didn’t have to wait an agonizing year for my book to come out like most debut authors, I also didn’t have much time to prepare. (not that I would have had any idea of what to do if I had had a year to prepare…sit by the phone and wait for Oprah to call, I guess…) I promised myself that I would take all of the lessons I learned on DUMPED! and apply them to the publication of Fifteen Minutes of Shame. My first novel. It was like a second chance at virginity.
I know, I know. Who the hell wants a second chance at virginity?
I felt like I could orchestrate the perfect publication, if only I were organized enough. For five years, I scribbled ideas in a notebook, things I’d do differently if I had the chance. I made a list, a long list of all the things I wanted to do, organized them by priority and categorized them into a giant checklist divided into tasks for each month, beginning ten full months before the publication of my book.
I have just begun September’s self-imposed assignments, and we’re already in the middle of October. I am behind schedule, in a big way. I worry about the checklist while I’m soaking in the bathtub, make notes while I’m waiting at the hair salon. If course, the only person who expects me to get it all done is me. Apparently, my inner taskmaster is quite the masochist.
My master plan also included finishing novel number two before I went on tour for Fifteen Minutes of Shame. And, um, writing my column. And doing the show every week. And being a mother to my children, a volunteer at both of their schools, and a reasonably attentive wife to my husband. (hey, I’m no perfectionist.)
But here’s where I’ve been bad: Instead of tackling my gigantic list of never-ending stuff to do, I’ve been sneaking off to the beach. Every chance I get.
I’m supposed to be working — the gargantuan to-do list hangs over me like tax day, but every time I have a relatively unscheduled day, I sneak down to Siesta Key with a paperback and a big thermos of iced tea. It happened three times last month. And I just can’t seem to stop myself.
I feel better when I get back, even though I’m farther behind than ever.
Is that bad? It just feels so good.
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